Paul Millsap, Plus/Minus All-Star

December 20th, 2013 | by Ben Dowsett
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Editor’s note: This is a guest piece done by Salt City Hoops writer Ben Dowsett, written on, a statistically oriented NBA-wide blog. They’re doing a series on “Plus/Minus All Stars”, and asked SCH to contribute a piece on a former Jazz favorite. We excerpt from the article here, then invite you to check out the whole piece, including video highlights on Got Buckets.

And as his game began maturing in his first few seasons, Millsap found himself in a situation not uncommon for guys like him in a small market like Utah – Jazz supporters, fans and analysts alike, seemed to think he didn’t get enough attention around the league.  When Portland signed him to an offer sheet in restricted free agency during the summer of 2009, many considered the number far too high; the Jazz matched quickly.  But as he played out this contract with still very little league-wide attention, the verdict on Millsap in Salt Lake was clear: we may not exactly know how, but this guy is way better than people think.

But for all he adds on the offensive end, there’s basically no doubt that Millsap is far more undervalued as a defender.  And on the surface, it’s easy to see why: he’s undersized, doesn’t inspire awe with his rim-protecting ability, and has never “anchored” a top-five defensive unit or anywhere close to it.  But just like his offense, Millsap brings loads of savvy and a high basketball IQ on every possession, and it’s reflected in his remarkably high defensive APM numbers (21st for the most recent regressions, 10th for the second-most recent), which place him in the company of names like Tyson Chandler, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

Millsap has excellent hands for his size, something that’s reflected in raw box score numbers – since 2010, he’s finished no worse than ninth of all qualified forwards in steals per game, sitting second for the current season behind only Trevor Ariza.  He’s especially quick-handed when guarding in the post, a must when you consider the size disadvantage he’s typically giving up.

For the rest of the article, click through here:

Ben Dowsett

Ben Dowsett

Ben Dowsett is a life-long Jazz fan and current in-depth analyst based in Salt Lake City. He also writes for Basketball Insiders and BBallBreakdown, and can be heard on SCH Radio on ESPN 700 weekly. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.
Ben Dowsett
Ben Dowsett

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